October 06, 2011
David M. Kennedy’s new book is a memoir, but it is really a memoir of his work—removing violence from the drug-dealing equation. Kennedy—in his own ac
War and the City
October 05, 2011
Reveille in Washington could stand on its own as a first-rate chronicle of how the political elites handled the Civil War. But the book’s main charact
October 04, 2011
The Obama tax cut is a classic example of what Suzanne Mettler calls “the submerged state”: policies invisible to citizens. Countless federal benefits
The Star that Barked
October 03, 2011
Susan Orlean has done a fine job with this book, and it is to be numbered among the best Hollywood biographies. She seizes the bone at the end of her
Humanism As Revolution
September 28, 2011
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern By Stephen Greenblatt (W.W. Norton, 356 pp., $26.95) Midway through the greatest literary work of the Italian Renaissance, the paladin Orlando, the hero of Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso, which appeared in 1516, goes crazy with unrequited love and jealousy. His poet creator is in no better shape: he is writing, he winkingly tells us, in a “lucid interval” of his own lovesickness.
The Self-Made Man
September 28, 2011
The nameless narrator of Lawrence Douglas’ new novel seems cut out to be the butt of an academic satire. Like so many fictional professors before him—
The Argument for the Prosecution
September 26, 2011
Kathryn Sikkink’s important book fills a yawning gap in the literature of atrocity crimes. A political science professor at the University of Minnesot
Is the Internet Turning Books into Perpetual Works-in-Progress?
September 22, 2011
Richard North Patterson remembers the moment he learned that Osama bin Laden was dead. He was watching television on a Sunday evening two days before the publication of his latest novel, The Devil’s Light, in which Al Qaeda plans a nuclear attack on America for the decade anniversary of 9/11. Wolf Blitzer, grave-faced, said something about a major national security announcement. And immediately, Patterson knew. “I sat there like a man in a catatonic state,” he recalled.